Team Malmstrom supports Feds Feeds Families program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
As Airmen with a steady paycheck and access to a dining facility, it may be hard to relate to those who go days on end without eating a decent meal. Sure, there may be the occasional missed meal or two due to a heavy workload, but not being able to afford basic sustenance is almost nonexistent.

For those who are not so fortunate, the Feds Feeds Families program was developed as a way for federal employees to help the cause by donating basic provisions and food items to those who need it the most.

"The campaign is a volunteer effort undertaken by federal employees to bring non-perishable food items to their offices for distribution to local food banks," said Jerry Contreras, Commissary store director.

The program runs from June 1 through August 31.

Organized in 2009, the campaign is a government-wide effort led by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Personnel Management and Chief Human Capital Officers Council.

Here at Malmstrom, Airmen and their family members have been supporting the program for more than four years.

Scattered throughout the base are donation drop-off points and the installation's Commissary has been leading the way in offering affordable donation packages.

"The Commissary serves as the main collection and pick up point for donations on the installation," said Contreras. "Our patrons, vendors and employees can put their donations in our collection box located at the front of the store.  We also have premade bags of products that have been identified by the food bank as being in most need.

"The bags are valued at $10 and take the guesswork out of what is needed," he continued. "There is a display offering individual items for donation as well."  

This year, Team Malmstrom members have donated 427 pounds of goods so far. The goal for the base is to reach 2,000 pounds, which is about 500 pounds up from 2014. As of June 26, the base has completed 21 percent of this goal.

"Every year the base has increased its support," said Contreras.

Since the campaign began, federal workers have donated and collected more than 39 million pounds of food and other non-perishable items to support families across America.

According to Commissary personnel, some of the most needed items are canned fruits, canned vegetables, multigrain cereals, grains, canned proteins, soups, juice, condiments, snacks, baking goods and hygiene or general household items.

"Last year, I had an opportunity to tour the food bank where our donations go," said Contreras. "For the short time I was there, I witnessed at least a half dozen people being assisted.  Some were families, some were single, and the ages varied from young to the elderly.

"What touches me the most is to know the children, at least for one or two days, will not go to bed hungry," he said. "This program allows us to help families right here in our own community."